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Monday 2nd July 2012

Video: Key fob reprogrammers steal BMW in 3 mins

Why car theft using sophisticated key programming devices is a problem that won't go away



Recent chat on the PistonHeads forums about a worrying trend in the theft of BMWs with electronic keys has gained new traction as a PHer has posted a CCTV video on YouTube of his BMW 1M Coupe being stolen within three minutes.

PHer 'stolen 1m' (we see where they're going with that username) had their £43K M car stolen from their driveway when thieves smashed a small area of window glass in the car without activating the alarm and used a diagnostic device to reprogramme a key fob through the OBD port.

But a quick internet trawl reveals it's not just BMWs that are vulnerable. Devices similar to that used on BMWs are also available for Opel, Renault, Mercedes, Volkswagen, Toyota and Petrol-engined Porsche Cayennes.

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) recognises the problem is a wider issue, though, telling us that they are working to tighten up the procedures for getting hold of these devices, in order to minimise the risk of them falling into undesirable hands. They also say that the industry is working on the technological side of the issue, with companies like Thatcham in particular liaising with police on ways to battle this technological crime.

The reason this form of theft is currently so rife - and admittedly this issue is not limited to BMWs - is that European competition rules require diagnostic and security reprogramming devices to be available to non-franchised garages. As we understand it, this effectively means that car companies cannot restrict access to or use of OBD ports.

Unfortunately it also means that, to a certain extent, the hands of car companies are tied, hence BMW can still only tell us that that they are "aware of recent claims that criminal gangs are targeting premium vehicles from a variety of manufacturers. This is an area under investigation. We have a constant dialogue with police forces to understand any patterns which may emerge. This data is used to enhance our defense (sic) systems accordingly. Currently BMW Group products meet or exceed all global legislative criteria concerning vehicle security."

 

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ZesPak

Original Poster:

14,578 posts

84 months

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Monday 2nd July 2012 quote quote all
... how do they de-activate the alarm before opening the door?

Auson

38 posts

69 months

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Monday 2nd July 2012 quote quote all
What a complete bunch of S ! Perhaps a bit less scary than when they break into your house with you asleep to take your keys I only woke up when I felt a draft from the window they removed.

Mermaid

18,628 posts

59 months

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Monday 2nd July 2012 quote quote all
Alaways preferred cars with the old deadlock system.

TNH

340 posts

35 months

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Monday 2nd July 2012 quote quote all
Set of scrotums.

LaurasOtherHalf

8,641 posts

84 months

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Monday 2nd July 2012 quote quote all
err is it too simple to start putting a key back on the ignition?
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em177

1,742 posts

52 months

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Monday 2nd July 2012 quote quote all
Good to see this making the front page... thats a good few threads on the subject now. Surely the manufacturers will be announcing something to sort this out soon? And presumably there are broad spread cases not just from the UK.

The longer it goes on the more the insurance companies will be sniffing around to hike premiums etc. The thought of having to fit an aftermarket alarm/immobiliser to a £40k+ new BMW is a bit ridiculous.

Is there any advice to people (not that I'm in the position... my E36 has a proper key!) for what they can do in the meantime?

EM177

Raramuri

28 posts

40 months

[news] 
Monday 2nd July 2012 quote quote all
Looks like the fatty at 1min 46 drops his phone on the drive. Oh dear!
Seems very organised, but can their trick software overcome a tracker?

Shaw Tarse

23,022 posts

91 months

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Monday 2nd July 2012 quote quote all
ZesPak said:
... how do they de-activate the alarm before opening the door?
Mentioned here http://www.pistonheads.com/gassing/topic.asp?h=0&a...
Well done PH for covering this thumbup

E38Ross

15,472 posts

100 months

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Monday 2nd July 2012 quote quote all
absolutely shocking in this day and age. a shame the bds won't get caught either, i'm sure.

LaurasOtherHalf

8,641 posts

84 months

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Monday 2nd July 2012 quote quote all
em177 said:
Good to see this making the front page...
seconded, well done PH for having the balls to make a story out of it. thumbup

hman

5,991 posts

82 months

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Monday 2nd July 2012 quote quote all
Raramuri said:
Looks like the fatty at 1min 46 drops his phone on the drive. Oh dear!
Seems very organised, but can their trick software overcome a tracker?
A shipping container will!

The Crack Fox

10,146 posts

80 months

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Monday 2nd July 2012 quote quote all
LaurasOtherHalf said:
em177 said:
Good to see this making the front page...
seconded, well done PH for having the balls to make a story out of it. thumbup
+1. Well done chaps, I hope this does some good. :0

Pique

1,139 posts

95 months

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Monday 2nd July 2012 quote quote all
At least BMW have the balls to admit that there is a problem.


Oh wait, they didn't.

TNH

340 posts

35 months

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E38Ross said:
absolutely shocking in this day and age. a shame the bds won't get caught either, i'm sure.
Even if they did get caught, a slap on the wrist and they would be away and nicking some other persons pride and joy that they have worked hard for.

ZesPak

Original Poster:

14,578 posts

84 months

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Monday 2nd July 2012 quote quote all
stolen 1m said:
There is a 'void' in the alarm. Almost like an area that isn't covered by it. This runs along the door from top to bottom and front to back and extends into the car by 4 inches (just enough to get your hand in and down to the OBD port) BMW won't admit it.
eek If that's true, that's some terrible cost-cutting from a manufacturer like BMW.

roger.daltrey

102 posts

81 months

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Monday 2nd July 2012 quote quote all
In reply to previous poster about the tracker - you can buy a 'jammer' from Amazon of all places

See this

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Mini-Jammer-Blocker-Vehicl...

Only £20 and it blocks GPS

Didn't know it was this easy !!

Seems to make Trackers redundant if they are this easy to overcome ?

405dogvan

4,346 posts

153 months

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Monday 2nd July 2012 quote quote all
Whilst it's clearly an important story, the tone of the article is that the problem is making manufacturers put an OBD port in the car...

Without requiring that, manufacturers could lock people into their approved dealerships which is utterly unacceptable and breaks a handful of laws which exist for good reason.

Putting the port somewhere it can be accessed without triggering alarms/trackers etc. is obviously dumb - the rules simple say it must be accessible from inside the car - they don't say that it can't be under a seat or behind some sort of secured housing or whatever.

Think it's important you separate those issues, really.

JC2012

504 posts

104 months

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Monday 2nd July 2012 quote quote all
In technology and engineering there's always reverse technology and engineering - and no matter what BMW do there will always be a way.

They are just making it very easy to do by leaving the Port live with power when the vehicle is turned off and locked they should instead cut the power to the port and allow the alarm to sound if contact is made to the pins on the port when the vehicle is locked as a deterrent at least.

hman

5,991 posts

82 months

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Monday 2nd July 2012 quote quote all
As has been discussed previously, a stoplock through the wheel stops this kind of theft

as does disconnecting one of the wires going to the OBD port- a simple mod.

405dogvan

4,346 posts

153 months

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Monday 2nd July 2012 quote quote all
ZesPak said:
eek If that's true, that's some terrible cost-cutting from a manufacturer like BMW.
Interior 'scanning' alarms have always been shonky and crap for this stuff - the way the technology works it's VERY hard to cover the whole interior without making 'false' triggers commonplace.

False triggers keep dealers very busy - and having to take your car into the dealer because the alarm keeps going off is bloody annoying and tends to cause manufacturers to score poorly on those customers satisfaction indexes.

Of course in this case there's a super-super-simple solution - if the alarm is armed and something connects to the OBD port, it should go off surely?

Then there's no need to fk around with the interior sensors...
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